Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Reviews:: Patrick Brealey Mercury in Songbirds

Back in the day, your skill as a rapper hinged on whether or not you could move a crowd. Folk icons needed to be able to tell a story that inspired revolution. Blues men had to play as if they had stood at the Crossroads and were willing to trade their soul for some licks. But most importantly, radio stars like Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Elvis had to make you dance. It might be a slow sway with your girl or a sweaty two step all over the dance floor, but music never used to be about standing there arms crossed, nodding your head diligently.

Going to a show used to be a big deal; a chance to see your favorite artist give 100%, and you give it right back. Stage presence is a lost art form, and pure performers are few and far between it seems. Now, I can’t say that I’ve met Patrick Brealey or seem him play, but he strikes me as one of those artists that can transform his already solid material into something spectacular when the bright lights start beating down on him. His new record - Mercury in Songbirds - is filled to the brim with swagger, tenderness, a penchant for percussive clank and above all, charisma.

It’s those seemingly simple qualities that will draw comparisons to the greats and make Brealey an artist to watch. The energy and soul that pulses through the 12-songs feel like they are ready to explode out of the gate and run free and help his classic stylings stay fresh. Right now you can’t go anywhere without hearing another young artist trying to settle into a rootsy vibe, but for the most part the efforts are as stale as week old bread. Patrick pays tribute to the past – just listen to the finger picked, hand clap heavy sing-along Wildfire, but nothing about Mercury in Songbirds feels dated or rehashed. Little moments, like the spoken word he drops on Tell Her, Tell Him snap you out of your pleasant nostalgic radio voyage and back into the 21st century.

Whether it’s a breezy folk duet (like the harmonica laced Blessing in Disguise), a tear jerking country ballad (Please Don't Love Me with that Love), a finger picked hoe down, a gritty, keyboard infused, foot stomper (The Devil Didn't Make Me Do It) or a gentle Orbison-inspired (or maybe Tom Brosseau if you want to make it a bit more modern) sway (Something to Do with You), Brealey’s style and structure get you moving and that my friends is something today’s music scene really needs. But, like they say, “the proof is in the pudding.” Watch him attack the Neko Case classic, Margaret vs. Pauline and more than hold his own over top of chatty bar patrons.

MP3:: Patrick Brealey - I Don't Want to Hear Another Love Song
MYSPACE:: www.myspace.com/patrickbrealeytheknives
BUY:: Boompa

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Posted at 12:45 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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